Colorado State wanted to win their first Mountain West game of the season, but Utah State wanted it more.
The Aggies of Utah State were hyped up on both sides of the ball thanks to their Homecoming crowd which was loud and proud all game long. While CSU stormed out to a 10-3 lead, they allowed 23 straight points and eventually lost 18-33 to USU Saturday night.
The Rams and Aggies started off in a defensive battle, that was, until Kent Myers went off on CSU. With the game knotted at 3-3, Colorado State took the 10-3 lead when Nick Stevens connected with Rashard Higgins on a skinny post up the seam for the 16-yard touchdown. Then Myers hit Hunter Sharp for a 42-yard bomb on Kevin-Pierre Louis and Myers ran for a 26-yard score near the end of the half to give Utah State the 17-10 lead at the break.
After a lengthy lightning delay, the Rams got the ball out of halftime, but turned it over. Stevens was hit and fumbled, but the defense held USU to a field goal. After a solid drive by CSU’s offense, Dalyn Dawkins was stripped of the ball and the Aggies ended another drive with a field goal and the 23-10 advantage. After yet another field goal by Utah State, the Rams finally answered with a touchdown as Stevens took off for a 15-yard score and tossed a two-point conversion to Higgins to bring Colorado State to within eight points.
But with the game on the line, Utah State’s LaJuan Hunt took the ball 33 yards to the house to cement the 33-18 victory for the Aggies.
STAR OF THE GAME
CSU’s star was “Hollywood” Higgins, with 10 catches for 114 yards and the touchdown. He was more involved in the offense but still could have been utilized even more for explosive plays.
PLAY OF THE GAME
With the Rams marching late in the third and needing a touchdown down 10-23, Dalyn Dawkins was stripped by Jon Roquemore and the drive was dead. Utah State had scored 20 straight at that point and CSU needed to answer, but instead turned the ball over for the second time of the day. Utah State ended up scoring a field goal after the fumble, pushing their lead to 26-10 with 13:36 to play.
With the Rams leading 10-3, following two straight scoring drives, the turning point came on Myers’ touchdown strike to Hunter. CSU had all the momentum until that score which tied the game up. Following the touchdown, the Rams had to punt two straight times while Utah State rode their momentum and took the lead into the lightning delayed halftime.
BY THE NUMBERS
Kent Myers was the true star of the game, with 191 rushing yards and one score on the ground, along with another 137 passing yards and a touchdown through the air. He was on fire all night long.
Nick Stevens enjoyed a decent game with 252 passing yards and one score with the interception which ended the Rams offensive opportunities.
Utah State finished with 435 total yards and a whopping 298 on the ground. The Rams still held the Aggies to a very low 2-11 (18.2 percent) on third downs but the explosive plays doomed CSU.
Colorado State lost the turnover battle 2-0 and it’s no surprise they lost the game. They also committed far too many penalties and at costly times, 12 in total for 110 yards. Somewhat remarkably, Utah State also had 12 penalties called on them for 125 yards.
Trent Matthews finished with a game-high 12 total tackles. Kiel Robinson enjoyed a sack and eight tackles along with 1.5 tackles for a loss. CSU enjoyed 10 tackles for a loss in all.
Losing the first conference game of the season is difficult, but there were many learning opportunities to take away from the defeat. Penalties, like personal fouls after the whistle, must be recognized as silly and unneeded. Especially for a team without a large margin of error due to the giant learning curve presented to them due to a coaching staff change.
Colorado State (2-3, 0-1) now hosts the Boise State Broncos at 5 p.m. MDT next Saturday at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. The Rams, no doubt, want revenge after losing last year to Boise and missing out on an opportunity at the Mountain West Championship game. Boise State was 3-1 at the time of publication and ahead 49-0 over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. So, the Broncos will likely be 4-1 next week when they come to Fort Collins.